Jean Duffey

April 9, 1932 - February 6, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020

Jean Duffey fed her herd for the last time on Feb. 6, at her ranch home on Upper Deer Creek, Big Timber, Montana.

Jean was born on April 9, 1932 to Ivar and Anna Hoiland at the homestead on the lower Sweet Grass. She grew up speaking Norwegian and learned English while attending the rural school on the Lower Sweet Grass.

After Ivar’s death, the family moved into Big Timber. Mom graduated from Sweet Grass County High School in 1949. She went to Spokane and began working at GMAC and then onto California where she attended Berkley and continued working for GMAC.

She moved back to Big Timber in 1953 to take care of her mom. She worked for Lutheran Social Services and married Dave Duffey. They bought the ranch from Dave’s parents and raised cattle and pigs and had six children. She worked as a secretary at Big Timber Grade School and then as the business manager there. After their divorce, Jean continued ranching and developed her rambouillet/ merino herd of sheep. She was proud of that herd and their fine wool.

She transformed the original Duffey farmstead into the beautiful log home of today. It became the site of 50 plus weddings and was featured in the Knot Wedding magazine. She was a voracious reader and stayed current on the news of the day. She enjoyed sharing her conservative views even with her liberal friends.

Mom constantly gave her children and grandchildren life lessons. They all wish they had paid more attention. She pushed them all to be the best they could be. She was the glue that kept the family together. She loved hosting celebrations and parties especially family gatherings.

Jean was a member on the Mental Health Board. She was a precinct woman and also central committee member for the Republican Party. She taught Sunday school and served on the church council at Big Timber Lutheran. She also was actively involved in Woman’s Club and Jayceens.

She was preceded in death by her mother and father and son Sammy, her brothers, Art and Joe, and sisters Ardelle Dobbs, Inez Cook and Arlene Barkley.

Jean is survived by her children Kelli (Larry) Brewer of Big Timber, Carol Harrison of Condon, Oregon, Mary Ann Duffey (Tom York) of Big Timber, Charles (Gwenda) Duffey of Baggs, Wyoming and Jill (Forrest) Beadle of Denton, Texas, grandchildren Megan, Bonnie, Bailey, Bryce, Skyler, Abby and Molly and great grandsons Matthias, Maximus, Samuel, Titan and Rylan. She is also survived by her sisters Margaret Downing and Kathyrn Ellison and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life will be held in July at the ranch.

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